Live Chat: Behind the Chat

Silvia Planella/ January 26, 2015/ blog

In the current climate of smartphones and the ease of internet access, customers are expecting multiple channels of communication from companies. The reason is immediacy. It is a two way street where live chat has advantages for both parties. A customer gets instant responses and the merchant reduces shopping cart abandonment whilst also keeping the customer on their website for longer. This is where a call center comes in. The call center links both parties by handling the live web chats with dedicated agents and purpose built technology.
live chat icon
 
Live chat has become one of the new ‘must-haves’ on a merchants website, but how does it work?

The Merchants Website and Live Chat Customer Support

The customer will see a minimised window such as:

This is usually located on the bottom right hand side of the web page but I have seen websites where it takes a bit more navigation or in some cases live chat is only available for subscribers. There are many companies that a company can choose from when it comes to picking a live chat software interface; they can also simply go with the software already being used by the call center they are outsourcing to. Either way the merchant must base their decision on:

  • The amount of channels they want with live chat. For example most offer email reporting as part of the live chat package
  • The reporting available. i.e. Performance metrics and the visualisation of these
  • Reliability
  • Cost

The Call Center and Live Chat Contact Channel

From the BPO’s point of view the live chat must be call center friendly which means that it must be easy to use for the agents. This can be done by having features such as:

  • Audio alerts
  • Visual alerts. As in Pop-ups etc.
  • Effective labels, Case numbers etc.

Audio and visual alerts reduce chat abandonment. A visual alert works better in a call center due to headsets and the general hustle & bustle. Effective labels help call centers understand the main drivers for the chats and emails. This allows for a more up to date FAQ page, as well as identifying training requirements.
Live chat is more than a ‘ping’ or pop-up on a call center agents screen. A lot goes on behind the scenes when choosing a software and carrying out reports. One thing I know for certain is that it fits in with today’s technologically savvy customers.